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Blackberry Troubleshooting Tips: Memory, Browsing and Trackball Issues

written by: LauraMS•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 7/5/2011

The Blackberry platform is very stable, however, from time to time issues will arise. The following troubleshooting tips are designed to help you get through some of these issues with relative ease.

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    Not A Guarantee, But Worth A Try

    Most times you will find that these troubleshooting tips work to resolve your issue, but be advised that they are not guaranteed to work at all times. Also, please remember to always back your Blackberry device up regularly so as to not use all of your data when an issue does arise. If any of the following Blackberry troubleshooting tips do not resolve your issue, please contact your service provider for further repair options.

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    Memory Leak

    One of the more common complaints among Blackberry users, particularly those with a lot of extra applications or email attachments, is a loss of memory (otherwise known as a memory leak). Some users have frantically surfaced on Blackberry message boards across the web in a panic over an unexplained loss of messages and call logs. This loss can be attributed to a few things, namely applications that require a lot of memory or the storage of too many email attachments. When your available memory sinks too low, your device will begin to automatically delete messages or calls from their respective logs.

    To avoid this, try troubleshooting by checking your available memory by either pressing the “O" key or selecting the “Options" icon from your Blackberry home screen. Scroll down to and select “Status", look at your “File Free" number and compare this to your “File Total" number to get an idea of how much memory you actually have available in your Blackberry. Different users have different levels that they feel comfortable with. For example, I don’t like my memory to fall below 25,000,000 bytes. When your memory has fallen to a number outside of your comfort zone, try troubleshooting by removing your Blackberry’s battery for a few minutes before replacing it. Often you will find that your memory level will be restored to a more comfortable number after your Blackberry restarts.

    If the troubleshooting technique doesn’t work and this number doesn’t change, you may want to review your emails and delete any that contain attachments if and when possible. Though you have plenty of room to open attachments on your Blackberry, they do take up a lot of memory space. Unless you need to keep them on your Blackberry for easy access to them, you may want to delete the ones you don’t need and you should soon see an increase in your available memory space.

    If neither one of these troubleshooting tips works to restore your Blackberry memory space, you may want to look into removing any applications that are not crucial to your device as they can also take up a lot of your free memory space.

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    Browser Issues?

    From time to time you may also realize that your Blackberry browser is running rather slowly or you may even find that pages aren’t loading, your screen is freezing or you’re getting the perpetual hourglass instead of your web result. Normally, troubleshooting with a cache cleaning will help restore your Blackberry browser to an optimal speed and function.

    To clean your cache, simply open your Blackberry browser, press your menu key scroll to and select “Options" and then scroll down to “Cache Operations" you can then select the “Clear" button under “Content Cache". You’ll know that you performed this properly if you press your escape or back button and get the message “Cleaning memory". Allow this cleaning a few minutes to be completed and you should find that your Blackberry browser is running smoothly once again. (NOTE: you can also clear your cookies and your pushed content in this same mode.)

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    Trackball Stuck?

    The trackball on a Blackberry is very handy for navigating your device and the web, but occasionally you’ll find that your trackball might stop moving in a particular direction. It’s recommended that you attempt to troubleshoot this issue by continuously rolling your trackball. In such a cases, the culprit is often a small particle that is lodged within the trackball’s mechanism and can easily be dislodged by a continuous roll. However, when this doesn’t work, there are other troubleshooting options.

    Before we go any further, it’s important to note that the following troubleshooting options are not recommended by RIM or your provider and could render your Blackberry’s warranty useless if any damage occurs while employing one of these methods. Remember to regularly backup your Blackberry, especially before performing one of the following troubleshooting operations.

    That said, many users (including myself) have solved a paralyzed trackball by simply placing a drop or two of rubbing alcohol directly on the trackball and rolling the trackball around as the alcohol dries.

    Other users have reported that taking a vacuum hose or liquid air to the Blackberry trackball has helped to suck out or blow out whatever is obstructing its free movement.

    Lastly (and probably the most risky troubleshooting technique), others have actually removed their trackballs, cleaned them and replaced them when none of the above options haven’t worked. A Google search for “clean Blackberry trackball" will yield several sites where users share step by step instructions for doing so. It cannot be stressed enough, however, that these options are not recommended by RIM and could cause damage to your phone. Only if you feel confident in taking this risk, should you proceed in trying to troubleshoot and repair your trackball issues in this way.

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    Conclusion

    As previously stated, your Blackberry is a pretty stable device and most of these troubleshooting techniques you’ll probably never need. However, just in case, it may help to bookmark this site as a reference just in case you ever need the advice shared here.